By Victoria Onehi
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe has called for the strengthening of bilateral relations with the Ireland Government in the area of Agriculture to boost food and Nutrition Security in the Country.
He made the call, when he received in audience, the delegation from Ireland, Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Marine led by the Secretary General, Mr. Brendan Gleeson who were on a courtesy visit to his office, in Abuja recently.
The Permanent Secretary stated that Agriculture plays a major role in the Nigerian economy and the need to harness areas of good working relationship was very germane to boost trade and investment between Nigeria and Ireland in the agricultural sector.
He pointed out that, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, had recently declared Emergency on Agriculture and Food Security and is committed to implementing programmes and policies intended to bring about enhanced food security, job creation and poverty eradication.
Dr. Umakhihe in a statement by the Ministry revealed that Nigeria was the most populous country in Africa blessed with arable land suitable for development of any agricultural value chain with a history of successes in the production of grains, horticultural products, livestock, amongst others.
Speaking further, he recognized the huge successes of Ireland government in the production of Milk, Wheat, Beef, Potatoes, Poultry amongst others, noting that the Ministry was willing to key in for the achievement of food and nutrition security and sustainability in Nigeria.
He therefore called for the setting up of a Technical Committee with membership from both countries to fine-tune the issues raised.
In his remarks, the Secretary General, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Ireland, Mr. Brendan Gleeson stated that both countries had common interest in food security that would bring about mutual benefits.
He pointed out that, “We are here to build a strong relationship that would make strong impact to both countries”.
The Secretary General acknowledged that Nigeria had some challenges and stressed the need for research, constant education and advice to farmers.
He therefore looked forward for a stronger bilateral relationship that would boost Food and Nutrition Security for both countries.
In his response, the Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, His Excellency, Peter Ryan revealed that Ireland was food secured and would never take food security for granted, which he noted was something that Nigeria had to work on, in terms of Research and Development, Capacity Building, Cattle Breeding, Food Marketing among others.